Ben Langhinrichs

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Microsoft thinks that .doc, .xls and .ppt files are dangerous

Thu 24 May 2007, 08:38 PM

by Ben Langhinrichs
Tim Anderson has an interesting post about Microsoft's security advisory 937696, which describes how Microsoft is advising users to force conversion between their older binary format documents and OOXML.  This may lead to more security, but it also will have the side effect, if organizations buy into it, of spreading OOXML much more quickly.  As Tim says:
Like Joe Wilcox, I can‘t help wondering whether it was this, rather than security, which has prompted this release.
It might help with PR problems such as wondering where all the OOXML documents are.

Copyright 2007 Genii Software Ltd.

What has been said:

593.1. Philip Storry
(25/05/2007 02:35)

No link to Tim's article?

I found it eventually...

I still think this is complete bunkum. They've closed one potential attack vector - attack by corrupted document structure. But most attacks are probably via malformed data rather than malformed document structure, so having an XML format to gaurantee good structure isn't much help...

593.2. Ben Langhinrichs
(05/25/2007 05:47 AM)

Sorry, I added the link. I agree that this just seems like using the excuse of security to further other objectives.